Autodesk Inventor uses Extensible Mark-up Language (XML) files as a means of storing style information externally from Autodesk documents. Styles have been stored externally using XML since the 2012 release. This is to reduce file bloating on larger assemblies. Imagine if you will, a 10000 part assembly with a different set of styles stored in each individual part. That’s 10000 sets of information in memory when only the styles from the assembly level are being stored in your PC’s RAM. Using external XML information allows the combination of files described above to be much smaller, only calling on the required data at the required time, saving system resource for more complicated tasks.
“Should I create my own styles?” The question is do you need to? In my previous position we had custom fonts, alternative settings, combinations of ANSI and ISO to make the style standards work across three continents. For the most part we didn’t need a custom style, but it made us feel better that we weren’t a “standard” business.
Managing styles for the most part can all be conducted from within Inventor itself. I would recommend that someone competent conducts the management in line with an agreed and defined company or industry standard.
For example, styles define:
- Line weights and leader styles
- Arrowheads and other terminators
- Dimension and text styles
- Symbols and options available for drawing annotations
- Format welding symbols, caterpillars, and end treatments
- Centre mark style and size
- Hatch pattern choices
- Formats for parts lists and balloons
Styles in parts and assemblies control lighting attributes.
Styles in sheet metal parts control lighting attributes, a sheet thickness, bend, corner, alternative flat pattern representations for punches and unfolding preferences.
Because some styles rely on other styles for formatting, a simple change can ripple through all other styles causing problems, especially if you are not aware of the links so please be careful when editing the styles.
If you chose to modify a style to suit your particular business/industry needs I would recommend copying an existing style and re-naming it as a company standard.
On a final note I would suggest that the CAD manager is responsible for all project files and style editing. This promotes standardisation and consistency across the board and makes housekeeping that much easier.
I would almost certainly recommend a project and styles health check on a quarterly basis, and if not at least once a year to ensure there is limited drift from your company drafting and modelling standards.